A Man and His Dog


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved.

A man and his dog go out for a walk on a winter's day. The man follows a hay hauler's tracks through the snow. His dog bounds ahead of him, reveling in the deepest drifts and the scents he uncovers beneath them. He turns to the man.

"I smell rabbits! Let's chase rabbits!
"I'll chase and chase and chase the rabbit and then you shoot it, okay? Okay?"

The man doesn't hear. He's thinking about his cows and the price he got. Should he have held out in hopes of an upturn? He's thinking about his city job and its wages. Should he look for something better? At this age, would anyone else hire him?




Walking the dog in a Winter Landscape


The man turns down the section road toward town. In a few moments the dog emerges from a fallow field, shakes the clumps of snow from his coat, and runs after the man.

"Hey! Going to town, eh?
"Maybe we'll see some people. We can jump on them and lick their faces!"

The man doesn't hear. He's thinking about how things have changed. So many folks have moved away. So many businesses have shut down. There's some new people moving in, but they're different: strangers. Who knows what they do for a living.

The man and his dog walk through the quiet streets of their small, rural town late in the afternoon on a winter's day. The shops are closed. There's little traffic. Only a convenience store and a fast food restaurant at the highway intersection are open. The dog smells the fast food.

"MMM, burgers! Let's go get some burgers!
"Let's see how many we can eat! Okay? Okay?"

The man doesn't hear. He's worried about getting old. He used to run a six-minute mile. He used to play basketball. Now he sees his doctor about his cholesterol and his prostrate.

The man and his dog turn toward home. The sun is setting, spreading a bright orange canopy across the western sky.

"Man, this is great," says the dog. "All these great smells! So many
interesting places! I could do this forever, couldn't you?

"Whaddaya say we just keep on walking for a day or two? Or better yet, let's jump in the truck and go for a drive! We can hang out the window and bark! Let's make some trouble!"

The man doesn't hear. He's missing the children that lived in his house before they grew up and moved away. He's missing his parents who have passed away. He's missing the friends he made and lost track of along the way.




Rural Delivery
Rural Delivery

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by Michael Hofferber
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